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Court suspends Turow mine proceedings

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw on Thursday suspended proceedings against the issuance of an environmental permit by the General Director for Environmental Protection (GDOS) for the Turow lignite mine on the Polish-Czech border.

The suspension means that current permit is still valid so production at the mine will continue.

Environmentalists and the Czech government have called for the mine to be closed owing to the alleged local environmental damage it causes. But the government has opposed this, arguing that any suspension of activity at the mine will lead to job losses and cause problems for Poland’s power supply.

The reason for the suspension was the lack of a valid conclusion to parallel proceedings concerning an application by PGE Mining and Energetyka Conventional Joint Stock Company (PGE GiEK) to change the environmental permit.

Judge Agnieszka Wojcik said that the administrative court was obliged to suspend the court proceedings.

Bartosz Rogala, an attorney for Greenpeace, told PAP that even before Turow’s environmental permit had been appealed against by ecologists, PGE GiEK had submitted an application to GDOS to change the permit.

But recently, PGE GiEK withdrew its application, resulting in GDOS issuing a decision to discontinue the administrative proceedings in the case.

Judge Wojcik said that until the decision on the discontinuation became final and binding, the administrative court had to suspend the court proceeding.

Welcoming the court’s decision, Anna Moskwa, the climate and environment minister, wrote: “The fight for Turow continues. The administrative court decided to suspend court proceedings, [so] the environmental permit [for the mine] to 2044 is still in force and the operations of the mine are not threatened.” 

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